The Nickelsen Audio NA-1 amplifier features amazing audiophile sound from a small and stylish cabinet. The small size is achieved by the use of Class D technology which also makes the amp very power efficient. Class D is a newer..
The Nickelsen Audio NA-1 amplifier features amazing audiophile sound from a small and stylish cabinet. The small size is achieved by the use of Class D technology which also makes the amp very power efficient. Class D is a newer type of amplification compared to the more common class AB or A. Several high end audio producers have been utilising class D technology. This amp implements a controller chip from Tripath® Technology. The analog sound is converted to digital waveforms at a incredible high sample rate before being amplified. This makes for a very clean and natural sound.
The sound can be described as having a dark black background, smooth mids, strong bass and detailed highs. Many listeners says the amp's sound signature reminds them of a tube amp's because of the nice smooth mid range. However the bass is much more controlled than from the average triode amplifier. It works great with all music styles, and will particularly impress on vocals with its smooth mids. At 100W/8ohm and 50W/4 ohm it can power most speakers. Normal listening levels requires below 1W. Higher power is mostly beneficial for short peaks and distinct powerful bass. Quality components are use in all stages, including audiophile Mundorf capacitors used for the input coupling which is one of the few passive parts that the analog sound will pass through.
The power supply is a big and important part of any amplifier's sound quality. The NA-1 uses Switch Mode Power Supply ("SMPS") technology specifically developed for audio. SMPS has the advantage of smaller size, greater efficiency and it requires less capacitance compared to traditional linear power supplies. SMPS is not commonly used in class A/AB amplifiers, but has proven to be a good match for class D amplifiers. This small and efficient power supply is part of the reason the NA-1 is this small.
The NA-1's power supply is capable of delivering 400W peak and 300W constant outputs, which is much more than the amp will ever require. It is regulated, meaning it provides a stable voltage supply to the amp section from zero to full load. This means cleaner sound, deep bass and less distortion.
This SMPS technology is much faster than linear power supply (up to 4000 times faster), and will very quickly charge the capacitors that temporary holds the power, thus smaller and fewer caps are required.
The cabinet is made from 5mm thick transparent Acrylic and comes in three distinct colours which look great in different lightings. The blue and especially the green will "glow" when you direct a strong light towards them. The black cabinet offers a more traditional look while still being slightly transparent. The amplifier and cabinet is handmade, and although carefully performed, the acrylic material is not perfact as glass, and will have some minor marks, only viewable from some angels/light situations. This is normal and expected.
The amp can output up to 2X100W when driving 8 ohm speakers. The output on 4 ohms is lower because of the current limiting in this amp technology. It works good also on 4 ohm, but it does not support 2 ohm loads.
There is one regular line level input, two pairs of speaker outputs, and a analog volume control. There is also a standby knob on the front as well as a on/off knob on the back. There is no remote but volume can remotely be controlled from the computer CD player or other source connected to the amp.
The input sensitivity is set to match line level inputs (CD players etc). iPads and phones normally delivers a weaker signal and will still work but might not be able to make the amp play at full volume. This is normally only an issue if you have difficult to drive speaker that requires a strong output.
Will it work with my speakers ?
At 100W/8ohm and 50W/4 ohm it can power most speakers. Normal listening levels requires below 1W. higher power is mostly beneficial for short peaks and distinct powerful bass. You can check the sensivity of your speakers by looking at their backside or by google their maker and model number. Speakers of at least 85db/W sensitivity will normally work good. It also depends on how big your room is and how loud you normally play. Note that this amp will not work with 2 ohm speakers or if you have two 4 ohm speakers paralleled.